Frank Lloyd Wright



“.......having a good start not only do I fully intend to be the greatest architect who has
yet lived, but fully intend to be the greatest architect who will ever live. Yes, I intend to
be the greatest architect of all time.” - Frank Lloyd Wright 1867-1959



CHILDHOOD

Born in Richland Center, in southwestern Wisconsin, on June 8, 1867
(Sometimes reported as 1869) Frank Lincoln Wright (Changed by himself to Frank Lloyd
Wright) was raised in the influence of a welsh heritage. The Lloyd-Jones family, his
mother’s side of the family, had great influence on Mr. Wright throughout his life. The
family was Unitary in faith and lived close to each other. Major aspects within the
Lloyd-Jones family included education, religion, and nature. Wright’s family spent
many evenings listening to William Lincoln Wright read the works of Emerson, Thoreau,
and Blake outloud. Also his aunts Nell and Jane opened a school of their own pressing
the philosophies of German educator, Froebel. Wright was brought up in a comfortable,
but certainly not warm household. His father, William Carey Wright who worked as a
preacher and a musician, moved from job to job, dragging his family across the United
States. His parents divorced when Wright was still young. His mother Anna
(Lloyd-Jones) Wright, relied heavily on upon her many brothers sisters and uncles, and
was intellectually guided by his aunts and his mother.

Before her son was born, Anna Wright had decided that her son was gong to be a
great architect. Using Froebel’s geometric blocks to entertain and educate her son, Mrs.
Wright must have struck genius her son possessed. Use of the imagination was
encouraged and Wright was given free run of the playroom filled with paste, paper, and
cardboard. On the door were the words, SANCTUM SANCTORUM (Latin for: place of
inviolable privacy). Mr. Wright was seen as a dreamy and sensitive child, and cases of
him running away while working on the farmlands with some uncles is noted. This
pattern of running away continued throughout his lifetime.

WRIGHT’S FIRST BREAK

In 1887, at the age of twenty, Frank Lloyd Wright moved to Chicago. During the
late nineteenth century, Chicago was a booming, crazy place. With an education of
Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Wright found a job as a draftsman in a
Chicago architectural firm. During this short time with the firm of J. Lyman Silsbee,
Wright started on his first project, the “Hillside Home” for his aunts, Nell and Jane.
Impatiently moving forward, Wright got a job at one of the best known firms in Chicago
at the time, Adler and Sullivan. Sullivan was to become Wright’s greatest mentor.

LOUIS SULLIVAN: LIEBER MEISTER

Wright Referred to Sullivan as “Lieber Meister” (beloved master). He admired
his talent for ornamation, and his skill of drawing intricate plans and designs. Wright
picked up on his ways of Sullivan and soon became ahead of Alder in importance within
the firm. Wright’s relationship between he and his employer caused great amounts of
tension between Wright and his fellow draftsmen, and as well as in-between Sullivan and
Adler. Wright was assigned the residential contracts of the firm. His work soon greatend
as he accepted jobs outside of the firm. When Sullivan found out about this in 1893, he
called Wright on a breach of contract. Rather than to drop the “night jobs”, Wright
walked out of the firm. When Wright left the company, Sullivan’s quantity of contract
declined quickly. Sullivan soon ran into economic troubles and his international
reputation dwindled by 1920. Sullivan was soon reguarded as worthless to the
architectural world. He resorted to alcoholism and died in 1924 without regaining the
glory of what was held in their early years of Chicago.

LIFE AFTER THE FIRM

Wright quickly built up a practice in residential architecture. At one point in his
career, Wright would produce 135 buildings in ten years. Wright took a different
approach to architecture by designing the furniture, light fixtures, and other things that
were in the structures that he made. He developed a unique type of architecture that was
known as the “Prairie” style. Dominated by the horizontal line, the style would make-up
the type of buildings designed in the 1900-1913 era of his career. Wright had two other
distinctive styles and a period for each one of them, one being the Textile block
(1917-1924) and the other the Usonian (1936-1959).
In 1909 Wright took off for Europe, once again leaving a stable life, with six
children, a wife and a well established business. He traveled to Europe to